Bristol SU Officers look at disinviting leading philosopher

His “homophobic statements” are seen as a problem

One of Britain’s most eminent philosophers could potentially be disinvited to Bristol University over past writings regarding homosexuality.

Sir Roger Scruton, author of forty books on aesthetics, conservatism and culture, had been due to speak in the annual Richmond Lectures, a series of university talks aimed at “broadening your mind and learning new things”.

However, according to an email from Joshua Mudie, President of the Richmond Lectures, “SU officers have lodged a complaint regarding his invitation” due to past “homophobic statements in the media, which do not align to the Union’s values.”

Sir Roger has previously aroused controversy with provocative statements on sexual desire and homophobia such as those in his 1986 book “Sexual Desire” or his 1989 essay “Sexual Morality and the Liberal Consensus”.

In a 2010 interview Sir Roger said “I wouldn’t stand by what I said then” and stated that his views on homosexuality had subsequently changed.

In a statement, Bristol SU said that “We are in the process of confirming speakers for this years’ Richmond Lectures. Given our commitment to Equality and Diversity, the SU officer team have expressed concerns about one of the speakers given his published views on homosexuality and have raised this with the student led committee of the initiative for them to consider.”

The university Journalism and Philosophy societies were due to co-host the lecture together, with the chance for some students to dine with Sir Roger afterwards.

Lucky Dube, President of Journalism Society, commented: “I hope the issues the Union has with the speaker are resolved and he is given a chance to speak at the university”.

Alisa Timiryasova, President of Philosophy Society, also voiced her concerns:

“I hope this event will be allowed to go ahead – as one of the England’s leading philosophers, I believe Roger Scruton has a lot to offer Bristol students and will spark some interesting discussion.”

The inaugural Richmond Lectures took place earlier this year with speakers including Baroness Chakrabarti, Bob-Marshall-Andrews and George ‘Jonny’ Johnson, the last surviving Dambuster.